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Copycat batteries threaten ‘increased fire risk’ on planes

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe


Citing Geoff Leach, the manager of the CAA’s Dangerous Goods Office, the BBC say they were told that batteries bought from respectable retailers are regulated and safe, as long as you pack them in your bag properly. However, the BBC reported that Leach admitted he is very worried about cheap, copycat batteries bought from dubious sources online.  These batteries were described by the BBC as being the sort that "could develop a fault with dramatic consequences".

Many airline staff are trained to put out lithium battery fires if they occur but to help combat what is anticipated to be a growing problem the CAA has been working with its US counterpart, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to produce a series of videos that show aviation professionals and the public how to pack batteries safely and what to do if they begin to smoulder or even catch fire. These videos will be available online in the future.

The scale of the threat is likely to escalate because more and more people are souring their lithium online to save money and  the European Union is paving the way for passengers to access the internet during flights which is bound to increase the number of phones, tablets and portable electronic devices being brought on board flights.

The average small plane has been estimated to carry 100 passengers and could have as many as 500 lithium batteries on board to power watches, laptops, cameras, e-readers, tablet computers and other portable electronic devices.

The UK’s Royal Aeronautical Society has also released a report that highlighted the risks from batteries bought from questionable sources. The Society report concluded that the risk of future fire-related incidents or accidents has increased due to the proliferation of lithium batteries and other risks.

Related articles and links:

BBC News

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Trial by fire: Boeing should have chosen a safer type of Lithium-ion battery chemistry for its 787

Battery strategy switch helps Airbus A350 plane orders take off in Japan


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